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Point of View: Dare I Say It?

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 11:34

When asked not long ago to describe my general state of mind, I replied — somewhat sheepishly, thinking that I risked shaming because of it — "I'm happy . . . I know it may not be politically correct these days to say so, but, yes, happy, I confess."

Which isn't to say, "And thus heedless and oblivious when it comes to life's ills and society's wrongs." While I haven't known it intimately so far, I know what suffering is. You can't read the papers, watch the news, or live for a while and not know it.

While I can't speak from the depths of experience, I know suffering can be transcended, and that beauty can be born of it, though I would not argue that to know beauty you must first suffer. Beauty abounds, as do suffering and ugliness. That seems to be the way it is, "magnificence and rats." Anyway, I'm happy, born programmed that way perhaps. The envoi on the postcards I'd send home from summer camp was always "I hope you're feeling fine and having fun." It was my wish for my parents, who were to divorce — my first realization, I guess, that things wouldn't always be idyllic on earth. It is still my wish for everyone. Life is too serious to be taken too seriously.

Bess Rattray said not long ago that we can be divided up into idealists and cynics. I'm in the former camp, the Candide of Harbor View Drive, whose Silva Mind Control spiritual guides were Clarabell the Clown and Mae West. You could say too, as Nabokov did, that we're either Don Quixote or Sancho Panza, the romantic and the practical person. A bit of both is probably best. Mary, I think, embodies the two — her eyes on the stars, her feet on the ground. In any event, she feels more than I do, and perhaps is less happy because of it. I'm here to cheer her up, she's here to keep me grounded, to hold me to account when I expand, when I begin to proselytize, to preach, one of the no-nos, I notice, when it comes to The Star's letters policy. (Isn't every letter writer proselytizing, i.e., trying  to convert others to his or her point of view?)

So, what does happiness mean to me? It means to be engaged in life and to be married to the one you love.  


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